Friday, December 6, 2019

Sketch Material Wish List for 2020

How cool would it be if a Stillman & Birn book contained both smooth Zeta
paper and toothy Beta paper -- between the same covers?

If I could have any sketch tool or material I wanted, even those that haven’t been invented yet, what would I ask for? Two years ago I wrote such a wish list – products that I wanted but that didn’t yet exist. Of the six listed items, four have been fulfilled, at least to some degree – not bad at all! Scoring on those items encouraged me to make a new list, and this time I have specific manufacturers in mind, based on what they already do well:
  • Stillman & Birn, my favorite sketchbook manufacturer, makes a Nova Trio edition that contains beige, gray and black toned papers bound together in the same book. I find that I love S&B’s toothy, water-friendly Beta edition with watercolor pencils, but when I’m using graphite, ballpoint and other pens, I prefer smoother Zeta or Epsilon papers. I want S&B to make an edition containing both Beta and Zeta papers in one book! (I’ve heard that Arteza makes a sketchbook with alternating spreads of cold press and hot press papers, but I’m not familiar with the papers myself.)
I bet Mitsubishi would make a dreamy water-soluble pencil!
  • The Mitsubishi Hi-Uni line of graphite pencils is my favorite for drawing, and the Japanese company makes many other luscious graphite pencils – all smooth, dark for their grades, and flawless. Viarco’s ArtGraf is currently my favorite water-soluble graphite for its rich, dark wash, especially in 6B. But I often run into little gritty bits in the core that prevent smooth application, and I have to stop and rub them out on scrap paper before I can continue. I’d love to see Mitsubishi use their extensive graphite know-how and apply it to making a water-soluble version. I bet it would be dreamy!

Caran d'Ache, aren't you embarrassed that I have to
use a Derwent extender on your pencils?
  • I know I’m particularly cranky about this one (I’ve bitched about it often enough, even directly to the company), but I truly believe Caran d’Ache should make both a portable sharpener and a pencil extender that fit its own products! By “products,” I mean, specifically, the Swiss company’s Museum Aquarelles, which are just slightly larger than conventional pencils and therefore don’t fit in many standard-size tools. I’ve resolved both the sharpener and extender issues for myself, but really: Is it too much to ask for adjacent tools that support their own pencils?

  • Derwent’s Drawing Pencils (which, despite their name, are colored pencils, not graphite or charcoal) have long been a favorite at life drawing because of their softness and extra-thick cores, which make them easy to apply quickly in broad, loose strokes. Their only drawback is their narrow color range, which is limited to earthy hues conducive to animals and landscapes. Derwent’s own Coloursoft and a few other colored pencils I’ve tried might be nearly as soft as the Drawing Pencils, but no other colored pencil I know of has a core that thick – which is what I love most about them. I want Derwent to expand the Drawing Pencil color line to include a few natural greens and yellows (which would still qualify as part of a landscapey palette, right?). While we’re at it, let’s throw in a couple more muted reds and blues, too. The addition of just a few more hues would make the whole palette more versatile.
Derwent Drawing Pencils with thick, luscious cores: All I want are a
few more hues!
  • More than a year ago when I reviewed the then-new Derwent Lightfast pencils, I speculated (OK, maybe it was wishful thinking, but it was educated wishful thinking, based on Derwent’s prior actions) the following: “Now that Derwent has introduced a collection clearly intended as a direct competitor to Caran d’Ache’s premier line of traditional colored pencils, what are the chances that the British company intends to introduce an artist quality water-soluble collection to compete with Caran d’Ache’s Museum Aquarelle pencil? As much as I love the Museum Aquarelle palette range, which is sufficient for most of my needs, it has a few holes that I’d like to plug with an equally soft, highly pigmented brand. A girl can dream.” Sadly, my speculation hasn’t (yet) materialized, but a girl can still dream. 

     suppose Derwent would say that its Inktense collection fills that need, but I’ve read about lightfast test results indicating that the pigments fade quickly (apparent from all those fugitive reds, purples and bright pinks in the palette), and the company makes no claims that they are artist quality. I think Derwent still has room for a lightfast water-soluble line (even a narrow one) as a complement to its oil-based, artist-quality Lightfast line.

 What’s on your wish list – products that you know a manufacturer would do well with if it made them?


  1. You forgot the Caran d'Ache Bicolor pencils.

    See I do read your blog.

    1. Thank you for reading, Marshall! But the Caran d'Ache Bicolors fulfilled my PREVIOUS wishlist!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...